|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sunsoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sunsoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 8, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
None of those things, however, make up for bad hit detection, terrible shooting angles when moving along ramps, or a host of other technical problems and design flaws. The levels all look very similar, and I often found myself wondering whether or not I'd already made my way through a particular area. Finding tools and power-ups requires quite a bit of digging around and backtracking, and with the save system being what it is (and the game starting you out in a crippled state, with only about one tenth of your full health bar), it's hard to muster the inspiration to dig deeper into the game's levels. You'll simply want to find the bare minimum in order to move on to the next leg of the adventure.
The bosses are definitely another highlight of the game, though you'll be robbed of much of the satisfaction of defeating them. Boss encounters mix things up in a mostly fun, old-school fashion, but they're way over-padded with health, making for a lack of difficulty in what would otherwise be a nice burst of challenge.
In terms of presentation, BMO finds a way to disappoint here as well. Environments and enemies are a mix of 2D and 3D assets, some of which are fairly attractive. The fog effects and lighting are impressive; the plain-Jane platform designs are not. Though there's quite a bit of recycling when it comes to mobs, the boss sprites are detailed and pretty cool to look at. The production overall, though, lacks polish and feels unfinished.
The music tries to evoke that good 'ole nostalgic gamer vibe, but there's not enough variety or originality in the soundtrack to hit a real high note. Some of the sound effects are pretty satisfying, especially when S.O.P.H.I.A. is bouncing around platforms and such. The same can't be said about the generic-sounding gun blasts and explosions, which do little to enhance the action.
With the generally favorable response to the many great retro-style WiiWare games from folks like Konami and Capcom, it's no surprise to see other publishers jump on the bandwagon. Blaster Master: Overdrive, however, lacks the innovation of its forebear, substituting obtuse level design for a true challenge. Enemies patrol haphazardly about levels, and the save system is borderline broken. S.O.P.H.I.A. is about the only real saving grace in the game, but she simply cannot carry the show alone. If you're hot for some old-school action, there are better titles on the Wii Shop Channel to choose from, including the original Blaster Master for Virtual Console. This one, however, won't give you the fix you're looking for; it will only send your jones into overdrive.
CCC Freelance Writer